Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum (previously), a roguelike heavily slanted towards social interaction and rich procedurally-generated game-world background and history. He's recently finished a four-part look at procedural generation with Rock, Paper, Shotgun: [more inside]
John Walker, games writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, eulogizes his father Hugh and reflects on a life spent playing and talking about games together.
RockPaperShotgun asks the British game industry how they would make a game out of The Great British Bake Off.
Marsh Davies talks about how games distribute power to players and how power fantasies often fail to work as parables about bigotry through the window of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with side discussions of how violent combat became so common in video games, how stealthy paths can be less interesting than combat-heavy paths, the tension between player power and narrative, and how these narratives can encourage people who already have power to feel sorry for themselves. [more inside]
Barbie Breast Feeding had you drag and drop the baby from the cot to Barbie’s chest where it drinks enough milk that it promptly develops a stomach ache and then requires a leg massage and a nappy change. I assume that might be closer to reality, except instead of wiping a flower which exists in place of your child’s genitals you’re actually dealing with human poop and children can get that EVERYWHERE.Philippa Warr on the Weird World Of Frozen Pregnancy Games. SLRPS
Dwarf Fortress will now include poetry, music and dance in procedurally generated forms. Making individual poems is beyond the capabilities of Dwarf Fortress (for now) but that hasn't stopped fans from making their own poems based on the publicly posted examples of poetic forms. Besides poetry, music and dance forms will also be generated and spread throughout the game as non-player characters teach each other. Dwarf Fortress developer Tarn Adams has been posting about these new additions to the game on his changelog (starting at 01/24/2015) and answering questions about it in his two latest monthly Future of the Fortress forum posts. On Rock Paper Shotgun Adam and Graham Smith delve into this topic to explore why it matters.
Writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Alice O'Connor shares her favorite excerpts from her collection of the readme files included in game mods.
But consider how much of videogaming is controlled by corporations like Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Apple. Their influence is far-reaching, and their decisions often show little regard for their audience. That’s dangerous. The PC is a fine and flourishing alternative, but it’s an anarchic ecosystem. There ought to be a third way, an organisation with the influence of a corporation but the interests of the people at heart. That’s what the BBC can represent. That’s what I feel we need in games.In an impassionate editorial at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Graham Smith draws on the Corporation's pioneering role in television as he sets out his reasons for wanting the BBC to enter videogaming.
Perils of The Lady Gamer. – a New Graphical Diversion by webcomic artist and writer Shaenon K. Garrity (previously). [more inside]
PC game superblog Rockpapershotgun's 24 Games of Christmas. Individual links below. [more inside]
Your brother sighs and takes his pipe out of his jacket. "It's good to be home," he says, and fills the bowl. "A light?" You[more inside]
put your hand out.snap your fingers. There's the sharp stab familiar pricklecomfortable ache in your wrist, among the bones. A flame leaps from your fingertips.
Released today on Steam, Gone Home has garnered praise for its deeply affecting narrative, stripped-down design and a unique aesthetic steeped in 90's nostalgia and riot grrl culture. "When I played Gone Home I had the stunning realization that there could be a game for me. Someone can make a game for me." -Leigh Alexander. "It’s touching, unsettling, deeply honest, and enormously compassionate. -Rock, Paper, Shotgun. "Gone Home is an epic story, but its definition of epic is far removed from how we usually talk about scope and drama in games. It’s epic, personal and revelatory to the people involved, and that’s why it’s so special." -Giant Bomb. Polygon's 10/10 review. How Gone Home's design constraints lead to a powerful story. The Fullbright Company's Journey Home.
At several moments during the presentation, I wrote in block capitals, circling and underlining. This is the headline feature. This is something nobody has tried or managed to do before. Then, toward the mid-point, while I was still processing what had already come, lead designer Dave Georgeson demonstrated a feature that changed everything.
Everquest Next’s world is made of voxels and everything in it is destructible.
In an ongoing effort to call out the PR tactic of silence which started with a focus on SimCity, Rock Paper Shotgun points out that after the public outcry, controversy, and an apology from Deep Silver which concluded "we want to reiterate ... how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again", the special edition of Dead Island: Riptide which includes a statue of a woman's severed torso silently went on sale anyway. [more inside]
We have made the act of killing and shooting so fun, but we’ve also taken the importance out of it by piling so much of it in. You don’t ever have to think about the concept of pulling a trigger, because even if you run out of bullets, we’re going to give you so many more bullets! So many more people to shoot! In fact, even if all the people in the game aren’t enough, we’re gonna give you Horde mode! You can kill people until you can’t kill them anymore!The writers of the controversial Far Cry 3 and Spec Ops: The Line discuss the past, present and future of FPS's. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The Castle Doctrine is the new "home invasion MMO" from cult game designer Jason Rohrer (previously: Sleep is Death, Passage, Chain World). It portrays a rather bleak world in which you must place traps to defend your home, family and life savings from an onslaught of burglars. At the same time, you must invade other players' homes to steal their life savings, in order to buy more expensive traps and tools. The more money you gain, the more attractive target your home is, so you better be clever in rigging up those traps. It's fiendish, brilliant, and currently open for public alpha at 50% of the full price. Rock Paper Shotgun has some early impressions: Part 1, Part 2.
Toward the end of 2008 my own sister Christina, who has suffered depression from a young age, experienced a particularly low period. “I began playing Fallout 3 because I needed a distraction. I didn’t think it would help because I was having trouble focusing on anything for very long. I ended up playing it for 14 hours a day for about 3 weeks.” This might be considered unhealthy – some might want to categorise it as “pathological gaming” – but for Christina it was crucial for getting through the day. “It got me out of bed in the morning. Becoming so involved in the storyline and the tasks gave me a reason to keep on going, and it was so far removed from real life that it made me feel better.” -- Over at Rock Paper Shotgun, David Owen takes a look at the link between clinical depression and gaming, if any and if they might help people cope with it.
Stephen Lavelle AKA Increpare (mentioned previously, previously, and previously) has recently released some new games recently, as mentioned by Liz Ryerson (also previously). Many of them create vibrant, emotional, affecting environments. The club like dream/nightmare that is Slave of God is written about by Cara Ellison of Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
Jim Rossignol, of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, explores the strange beauty at the edges and behind the scenes of video games. The article uses images from artist Robert Overweg. [more inside]
Cities in dissolution. "It’s a game for anyone who has ever wondered what happens in the grandest house in town once the lights go out at night. It’s for anyone who has ever seen two men slumped at a hotel bar and wondered what other secrets are contained in such temporary lives. Thief is a game for anyone who has ever walked through a city at night and thought, which parts are still breathing and what does each seclusion contain." Rockpapershotgun's Adam Smith thinks about cities.
I love rules. Not following them, of course – that’s for other people. I love writing them. And since I’m the best qualified to decide how everyone else is allowed to behave, it’s only appropriate that I be in charge of everything. So it is that I have been making clear the Rules For Games, both for developers and for players...
24 games of Christmas, the Amazing Rock Paper Shotgun Advent Calendar. "Here are the rules of the calendar: 1. The games are in no particular order, except number 24, which is our game of the year. 2. That means that number 5 and number 17 are on an equal footing as a game of the Christmas, do you see?"
With E3 2011 over and some majestically creepy 'booth babe' galleries cropping up, you'd be forgiven for wondering whether the 2006 ban ever happened. Never a site to shy from cheap titillation, RockPaperShotgun gives us Booth Babe Babes Bonanza. In a similar vein, Comic Con Pervs has its zoom lenses at the ready for San Diego Comic Con this year. NSFW scantily-clad ladies in first links, also a few incidentally featured in latter ones
Bullestorm is a rather silly FPS from People Can Fly, focusing irreverance, violence, points for ridiculous achievments and fun fun. It's marketing campaign has included the meta-game "Duty Calls", which savagly skewers it's equally violent but far more self-serious competition such as Call of Duty: Black Ops. Naturally, Fox news has freaked out and started a campaign against it, including a claim that it will cause rape. Rock, Paper Shotgun responds. FOX responds to the response. RPS responds to the response to the response, with a summary of the debacle so far.
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of University of Michigan Press which releases scholarly books under a creative commons license. They've got 19 books published already and more on the way. Among those on offer are poet and English professor Kevin Stein's Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, anthropologist Bonnie A. Nardi's My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, English professor Buzz Alexander's Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?: Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project and English professor Elizabeth Carolyn Miller's Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle. If you don't want to read a whole book they also have essay collections, such as Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina and Best Technology Writing 2008, which includes pieces by, among others, Cass Sunstein, Robin Meija and Walter Kirn. [previously, Rock Paper Shotgun scribe Jim Rossignol's This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities]
This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
Ice Pick Lodge is a game design studio renowned for its experimental narratives and its championing of loftier ideals in gaming. Its second game, The Void (link goes to Steam), was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. Quintin Smith writes about it in two articles at RockPaperShotgun, first with a review of the game, and then with a piece defending Ice Pick's use of nudity as artistic. (It's worth mentioning that Smith introduced Ice Pick Lodge to a larger audience with his brilliant three part article defending Pathologic.) Don't have the time or patience for The Void? CannibalK9 of SomethingAwful has you covered with a thorough Let's Play that covers the entire game in twenty-two lengthy videos (not counting the hour-and-forty-minutes two-video finale), expertly narrated, thoroughly examining every aspect of the game, including Easter eggs. [more inside]
Solium Infernum, the most recent release from indie game designer Vic Davies (and one of Eurogamer's Games of 2009), is a turn-based wargame in which the players, as members of Hell's aristocracy, vie for control of Satan's recently vacated throne employing diplomatic measures and demonic armies. Over the last couple of weeks the boys at Rock, Paper, Shotgun have posted epic turn by turn battle reports of a month-long play-by-email game undertaken by two of their own and four acquaintances, two of whom have written up their own reports. Without fail the accounts are full of twists and turns, blunders and screwups, conniving, back-stabbing and all sorts of bastardry that make them fine examples of game writing as well as gripping page-turners. [more inside]
2D BOY made around $100,000 in a week. That’s $50,000 each for writing a blog post about a game they finished a year ago. By letting people pay whatever they wanted. 2D Boy stirred up a lot of discussion (previously) about game piracy when they used online scoreboard data to estimate an 82% piracy rate for their fantastic indie game World of Goo (previously). For World of Goo's first birthday, they decided to try the Radiohead model and let people buy the game for any price they choose. Now they've released extensive data about the results. Short version? "A huge success," even though the most commonly chosen price was only a penny. [more inside]
You are a shark. You swim off the coast of Florida. You dive in and out of the water to smash boats, and you can pull jumbo jets out of the sky WITH YOUR TEETH. You are Miami Shark. Via Rockpapershotgun. [more inside]